May 10, 2018
Delaying Equity Only Adds to the High Cost of School Failure
Some days ago, I came across this phrase: "the exorbitant cost of school failure." You can interpret it in two ways. There are people who don't take advantage of their education and the cost to them can be unreasonably high in terms of future accomplishment. 

But what about those with disabilities, where school failure is due to a poor educational plan?  Through no fault of his or her own, the student's life may become a life... 
  • full of restrictions due to inadequate living skills
  • characterized by unemployment
  • caught in the criminal justice system
School failures also translate into higher adult services costs. But schools don't worry about that because once the student "Turns 22," he or she is off their budget books. Imagine, cost shifting a life!

Now the federal administration wants to delay implementation of equity regulations. Their reason: they want to make sure their regulations are more effective: "In order to ensure the Department's 'Equity in IDEA' or 'significant disproportionality'
regulations effectively address significant disproportionality, the Department proposes to postpone the compliance date by two years, from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2020." In fact, while the feds are at it, they'll delay the analysis of kids from ages three to five for two more years too until 2022.

Why should we care? It's harmful to students of color to not provide equal education. Along with other groups, The Arc released a statement about this issue which I have simplified here:
  • Research shows that students of color are treated unfairly in terms of over identification with certain types of disabilities.
  • This has resulted in placement in segregated classes, as well as suspension and expulsion from school.
  • A delay in compliance of regulations increases the likelihood that students of color will be subjected to inappropriate educational segregation and harmful disciplinary practices, with potentially lifelong negative consequences.
We know anecdotally that students from families who understand how the system works and have resources are able to get better results in access to and the quality of services. Some of that is due to the family's own efforts. But that, too, is an indictment against services - that all families must continually have to advocate for the right educational plan for their child or the student's education will come up short. This uphill fight is even tougher for those without resources or from racial and ethnic minorities.

Many states have already moved forward with implementation of the equity regulation in anticipation of the 2018 start date. Delaying implementation only adds additional burden to those states, as well as unnecessary confusion at the state and local level. To learn more about this issue, you can view this short video. Let's not delay doing the right thing!


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
DDS/DESE Open Enrollment Period and Guidelines
Do you have a child who is eligible for DDS and has high needs for support? You may want to consider applying for the DESE-DDS program to receive meaningful supports that are designed to avoid out of home placements and to keep families together. This program has been successful in the Commonwealth for over a decade and is a priority line item in the budget for The Arc.

Enrollment is open now through May 31. To learn more and to apply, visit the official website. If you have questions, contact Maura Sullivan at
Boston Globe GRANT Program
Are you a Boston Globe subscriber? If so, we have a favor to ask. Help us earn a free ad in the Globe just by showing your support. Simply go to and enter your subscriber information and the name and location of our organization before July 31, 2018. It only takes a minute, and it doesn't cost you a dime.

Your support will be converted into GRANT advertising dollars, which we can redeem for ad space in the Globe. The more dollars raised, the larger the ad - which means more exposure for The Arc of Massachusetts and the important work we do.

Thank you in advance for your support. We appreciate it more than you know.
Advocacy Trainings in Full Swing
As we head into the half way mark of the budget cycle, it is a great time of year to take a deeper dive into legislative advocacy.  Maura Sullivan, our Director of Government Affairs, recently held two Advanced Legislative Advocacy trainings for Mass Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) and the Northeast Region DDS Citizens Advisory Board. Both trainings focused on advocacy as it relates to the DDS budget and priorities bills that have a chance to pass this legislative session. Over 75 trainees learned about the budget process, our current amendments, telling your story, getting a commitment from your legislator, and more.

If you are interested in a group training, please contact Maura Sullivan at
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Bay Cove Human Services, one of the state's leading human services organizations, will honor Liberty Mutual Insurance and its Chairman & CEO, David H. Long, with its 2018 Changing Lives Award. The award will be presented at the Changing Lives Gala on Wednesday, May 23, at 6:00 PM, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. Individual tickets are $250, and sponsorships at a variety of levels are still available. To reserve seats, please call 617-371-3184, or visit
Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 6:00 - 9:15 PM
University Hall 1100 | 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston
6:00 PM - pre-screening reception
7:00 PM - screening, followed by Q&A with Producer/Director Dan Habib, Executive Producer Marianne Leone Cooper, and film subject Micah Fialka-Feldman.
An Introduction to Key Aspects of Supported Decision Making
Michael Kendrick and Anna Krieger, Center for Public Representation
Monday, May 14, 2018 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
FREE thanks to the Becker Center for Advocacy | Register today!

Individuals with disabilities, like all adults, should have the right to make their own decisions. They should be provided support and guidance rather than legal restrictions or guardianship. This webinar will provide an overview of Supported Decision Making - how it works and what the key elements are.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |